Softballs lined up along a net at a Mississippi State softball game.

Mississippi State knocks down Liberty, Louisville in doubleheader



Photo: Kelly Donoho/Mississippi State Athletics

Samantha Ricketts’ Mississippi State softball team is off to an impressive start. After defeating Missouri State in shutout fashion and then contending with Team USA on Friday, the Bulldogs reeled off back-to-back wins Saturday.

First, Mississippi State defeated Liberty 9-2 to get the day started.

Despite the fact that Mississippi State fell behind early on, the Bulldogs bounced back and won big. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Mia Davidson tied things up at 1-1 with a solo shot. A RBI single from Madisyn Kennedy then put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.

The Bulldogs would stretch that lead to 4-1 thanks to a pair of RBI singles from Candace Denis is Fa Leilua. A bases loaded walk in the bottom of the fifth extended that lead out even further, giving MSU a 5-1 advantage.

Liberty got a run back in the top of the sixth, cutting State’s lead to 5-2, but a grand slam from Leilua in the bottom of the sixth ended any chance of Liberty getting back in the game.

MSU won 9-2.

In State’s second game of the day, the Bulldogs had a much tougher time getting on the board. Against Louisville, the Bulldogs snuck away with a 3-2 win over the Cardinals.

Mississippi State and Louisville traded scores throughout the afternoon, with the Cardinals taking an early lead in the third inning thanks to a fielding error. But MSU quickly responded, tying things up in the fourth inning.

When State pulled ahead in the sixth inning, Louisville was able to tie things back up in the bottom of the seventh, forcing the game to go into the eighth inning.

But that’s when MSU was able to pull away and end the game. With one out and a runner on third, Montana Davidson was able to hit the ball to second base. Louisville attempted to get both Davidson and Anna Kate Segars, but was unable to pull it off. Segars scored safely and Davidson was able to get on base, putting MSU up 3-2.

In the bottom half of the inning, Louisville was unable to score despite having runners at the corners.

MSU won 3-2.

Saturday’s wins are particularly impressive for Mississippi State when considering how many wins Liberty and Louisville had just one season ago. Liberty finished last season with a 40-22 record while Louisville ended the year with a 35-23 record.

On top of that, despite the Cardinals’ sluggish start to the season, Louisville already has a win over No. 21 Ole Miss.

The Bulldogs got two solid wins in this doubleheader.

Mississippi State returns to action Sunday at 11 a.m. as the Bulldogs look to remain unbeaten when they face off against North Carolina State.

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